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Boerma, J. Ties; Nunn, Andrew J.; & Whitworth, J. A. (1998). Mortality Impact of the AIDS Epidemic: Evidence from Community Studies in Less Developed Countries. AIDS, 12(Suppl. 1), S3-14.


Background: The AIDS epidemic is now more than a decade old and direct evidence of mortality impact has become measurable, as indicated by an increasing number of publications presenting empirical data from less developed countries.
Methods: This review focuses on the evidence of mortality impact among adults and children in community studies. The majority of these studies are located in Africa, particularly eastern Africa, where the AIDS epidemic is conjectured to be older than in other less developed countries.
Results: Community studies show a two- to threefold increase in total adult mortality with an even larger increase in mortality among young adults in communities with adult HIV prevalence levels below 10%. Mortality amongst HIV-infected adults ranges from 5 to 11% per year, and more than half of all adult deaths can be attributed to HIV. HIV-infected women die at an earlier age than men and thereby lose significantly more productive years of life. Follow-up studies of incident cases are few, but population-based data indicate that the median survival time is substantially longer than originally thought on the basis of mortality amongst HIV-infected commercial sex workers. Tuberculosis incidence is on the increase, but evidence of additional impact on mortality is hitherto limited. Infant and early child mortality among children of HIV-infected mothers is two to five times higher than among children of HIV-negative mothers in follow-up studies of maternity-based and community samples.
Conclusion: There is now empirical evidence of the mortality impact of HIV/AIDS from several community studies. The large increase in adult mortality and moderate increase in child mortality lead to dramatic falls in life expectancy. For instance, in a rural area of Uganda, which has an HIV prevalence of 8%, life expectancy has dropped from just under 60 years to 42.5 years.

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Boerma, J. Ties
Nunn, Andrew J.
Whitworth, J. A.